POST (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology)
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Use of artificial intelligence in education delivery and assessment

This POSTnote considers how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can be used by educators and learners in schools, colleges and universities.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.58248/PN712

Artificial intelligence technologies that can be used in education have developed rapidly in recent years. This has been driven in part by advancements of generative AI, which is now capable of performing a wide range of tasks including the production of realistic content such as text, images, audio and video.  

Artificial intelligence tools have the potential to provide different ways of learning and to help educators with lesson planning, marking and other tasks. 

However, adoption of AI in education is still in an early and experimental phase. There is uncertainty about the benefits and limitations. 

Some stakeholders have expressed concerns that over-reliance on AI could diminish educator-learner relationships. Concerns also relate to potential negative impacts on learners’ writing and critical thinking skills, through work being undertaken by AI.    

 In November 2023, the Department for Education published a report on the use of Generative AI in education. The UK Government have also announced an investment of up to £2 million to provide new AI-powered resources for teachers in England. 

Key points 

  • Artificial intelligence tools have the potential to provide different ways of learning and to help educators with lesson planning, marking and other tasks.  
  • Some policymakers and education experts predict that AI technologies, if properly implemented, could improve learning outcomes and reduce staff workloads in educational settings, including in schools, colleges, and universities. 
  • Use of AI in education poses several challenges. In addition to general concerns about bias, safety, and the use of personal data, many AI tools have not been developed with younger audiences in mind and could expose learners to inappropriate content. 
  • Some stakeholders have raised concerns that an over-reliance on AI tools could lead to the erosion of teaching, writing and reasoning skills, and may fundamentally change the educational experience offered to young people. 
  • Research suggests that generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are increasingly able to produce text capable of passing some exams, which risks undermining the validity of some assessment methods. 
  • Following a call for evidence, the DfE published a report on the usage of generative AI in education in November 2023. It found that early adopters of AI in education mostly held positive views of the technology, however respondents also expressed significant concerns. In October 2023, the DfE organised a two-day ‘hackathon’ with educators and data scientists to determine how AI could be used in schools most effectively. 
  • Stakeholders have indicated that the successful implementation of AI in education will require: evidence demonstrating where AI can be effective at delivering educational outcomes; training and guidance for educators; and further clarity surrounding the legal frameworks that control how AI collects and uses educator and learner data.  
  • Stakeholders also indicate that there is a need to tackle ‘digital divides’, otherwise AI tools may not be available to disadvantaged groups and may therefore exacerbate inequalities. 

Acknowledgements 

POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:   

Members of the POST Board* 

Department for Education* 

The Alan Turing Institute 

AQA* 

Education Endowment Foundation*

Jisc* 

National Institute of Teaching 

NASUWT*, The Teachers’ Union 

Oak National Academy* 

Moktar Alqaderi, Progressay* 

Professor Benedict du Boulay, University of Sussex* 

Daisy Christodoulou, No More Marking 

Professor Rebecca Eynon, University of Oxford 

Dan Fitzpatrick, The AI Educator 

Dr Zoe Handley, University of York* 

Dr Sandra Leaton-Gray, University College London 

Professor Rose Luckin, University College London  

Dr Rebecca Mace, University College London and University of West London* 

David Weston, Teacher Development Trust* 

*denotes people and reviewers who acted as external reviewers of the briefing

Related Links

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Channel website: https://www.parliament.uk/post

Original article link: https://post.parliament.uk/research-briefings/post-pn-0712/

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